Polish government prepares act on protection of population from the radiation emitted by mobile base stations. Minister of Digitalisation expects the act to be ready by the end of 2016. According to the Telecompaper:
“Polish government prepares act on electromagnetic protection
Friday 22 April 2016 | 14:05 CET | News
The Polish Ministry of Digitalisation has announced its preparation of an act on the control of the effects of electromagnetic radiation from radiocommunications devices on human life and health, reports Telko.in. The first consultations are planned for the beginning of May. Discussions on public concerns related to electromagnetic radiation are conducted under the patronage of the President’s Office.
After the first round of the discussions, the ministry decided to withdraw the controversial provision on facilitating the placement of radiocommunications devices from the draft amendment of the act to support telecommunications services and network development.
The task of the new consultation group will be discussing the assumptions of the draft act with experts and the public and subsequent preparation of the draft. The group will include representatives of the public sector, the public, telecommunications operators and experts in the field of radio-communications and medicine, namely the Institute of Communications and Collegium Medicum of the University Jagiellonski.
The new acts will enforce supervision of emissions standards, tightening sanctions and increase the influence of the local community on the process of placing new radiocommunications devices.…”
The action of the Polish government was prompted by the recent control by the NIK, Poland’s top audit chamber, which has issued a report criticizing the public procedures for allocating mobile base station permits. Telecompaper: “…The NIK said unclear rules meant that some base stations were operating without an analysis of their impact on the surrounding neighbourhood, including an assessment on the health and quality of life of residents….”.
Important part of the governmental action is the preparation of the scientific report evaluating the to-date published scientific studies concerning mobile tower/mobile phone radiation and human health. The report will be prepared by experts from the governmental Institute of Telecommunication and the Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University.
However, at this point, the ways and the means of preparing the scientific report are unclear and not specified at all. One of the concerns is the possible conflict of interest of the Jagiellonian University itself as well as the appointed, by the Rector of the University, experts. Polish Minister of Digitalisation, at the recent meeting in Warsaw, expressed full confidence in the ability of the Jagiellonian University to avoid conflict of interest problems.
The issue of preparation of the scientific report is, however, not simple and should not be treated lightly. The scientific report will be ready some time in October/November 2016, at the time when the legal act will be also finalized. At this point it is not clearly specified what impact will have conclusions of the scientific report on the prepared legislative act. Legislation and scientific report will be prepared in parallel – those writing draft of the legal act will not have ahead of time, at their disposal, the scientific basis and justification for creating protective measures. Unless, Polish government assumes already, at this point in time and ahead of the scientific report, that the radiation emitted by the mobile towers is hazardous for human health…
Certain, well described ahead of time, procedures of preparation of the scientific report should be written down and followed. These procedures should clearly describe who will prepare the scientific report, what scientific evidence will be considered, and what evidence will not be considered and what will be the criteria of inclusion/exclusion of certain evidence. Just the currently provided brief information that the scientific report will be prepared by several (several tens?) experts on the basis of some of the to-date published reports is absolutely insufficient for a reliable scientific evaluation process.
One of the requirements of preparation of a reliable scientific report are declarations of the conflict of interest produced by all members of the scientific panel. The evaluation of science should be done by scientists alone, without any administrative pressures from the University. This seems to be, at the moment, “forgotten” in Poland. Recently, the European Union, prompted by the numerous complaints from the general public, has issued new rules and procedures for the selection of members of the advisory scientific panels. It feels only right that the same rules should be applied/followed by the member states, including Poland. Just the statement from the Minister of Digitalization of her full trust into actions of the Rector of the Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University to appoint the experts without any conflict of interest, is not enough.